Cupping is a healing technique whereby a cup is applied on the skin and the negative pressure within the cup (generated by suction or heat) holds and draws the superficial muscles and skin into the cup. While the suction is still strong, the cup is sometimes moved, causing the muscle and skin to be pulled. This technique is known as gliding cupping.

Cupping targets specific acupuncture points and areas of the body that experience pain where the pain is deeper than the tissues to be pulled. Cupping is commonly applied on the back simply because it is easier when it’s administered on the back. Practitioners typically use the back dazhui acupoint or the bladder or shu acupoint. It is often used post bloodletting, plum blossom treatment, or acupuncture therapy in Spokane.

Cupping is associated with the energy channel aspects or meridian aspects of the body. It opens the meridians and clears any stagnation in the body so that chi can flow smoothly. On the other hand, cupping also regenerates certain organs and meridians that are not functioning optimally. From a scientific perspective, cupping has been proven to help repair deep tissue, boost blood circulation, and stimulate the lymphatic system.

The Cupping Process

Today’s cupping procedures mainly use glass cups, although bamboo cups are also used from time to time. Modern glass cups are attached to a valve that connects to a small manual pump, giving the practitioner the means to control the amount of suction and air without needing to create fire to depressurize the cup. These days, cupping therapy is called suction cup therapy or baguanfa.

Massage oil that have been infused with extracts of aromatic or healing herbs is first applied on the body to make the cups move smoothly over the skin. The cups are applied at room temperature and friction is created when the cups are moved resulting in an insignificantly small amount of heat, especially if the practitioner uses a warming oil.

The practitioner leaves the cups on the patient’s skin for about 10 minutes although, from time to time, this may extend to 15 to 20 minutes. The skin will turn red due to the blockage of blood circulation. The cups are removed from the skin by applying pressure on the skin on one side, causing air to enter which equalizes the pressure. On areas where the rim of the cup is placed, some bruising can be expected.

The Uses of Cupping Therapy

Cupping is commonly prescribed to treat gastrointestinal disorders, pain, paralysis, and lung conditions (especially asthma and chronic cough), although it also can be used for other illnesses. It should not be used on the lower back or stomach area during pregnancy or on areas where there is a high tendency to bruise and on inflamed skin and on people who have convulsions or high fever. It should be administered on fleshy areas of the body.

The effects of cupping can reach up to four inches into the tissues of the body. This helps eliminate colon blockages; improve the appearance of varicose veins; eliminate stretch marks; stimulate the skin; clear and stimulate the capillaries, arteries and veins; stimulate the lymphatic system; and cause the tissues to release toxins.